I’m still working on patience, but I’ve quit praying for it because every time I do, I get tested…again. Nope, just trying to learn patience on my own.
For example, if a driver cuts me off, I say to myself, “That person must be on a mission.” Sick child, maybe? Late to pick the kids up from school? (Or maybe the beer is getting warm.) Whatever, and I hope they don’t crash before the mission is over. Sometimes I pat myself on the back. “You are getting there, boy. You are getting there.”
The ones that test me the most, however, drive 40 miles per hour on the open highway. Those frustrate me, and then I say, “You must be related to my Grandpa Charlie Troop.” You see, he never drove faster than 40…usually, although he might push his Chevy pickup to 45 on long, straight stretches.
Imagine being nine years old and riding in the back of a Chevy pickup going 40 mph for nine-hundred miles on old Highway 99…over the Siskyou Mountains south of Ashland, Oregon…gassing up in Dunsmuir…and grinding on south. (I know…letting kids ride in back of a pickup without seat belts will get you a ticket these days, but that was then.) In all fairness, the pickup had a bed and mattress in the back and a canvas canopy. Mainly that served to make sure you could see where you had been, but not where you were going.
I remember Grandpa stopping the first night at a motor park and renting a tent house that had bunk beds for the weary. The second night we had progressed as far as someplace south of Bakersfield, California. That was a night to remember. I slept under a tarp alongside the road while the skeeters feasted on my tender hide. Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Ida slept in the bed in the back of the pickup, and Mother slept in the cab. Don’t know how that came about.
But finally, on the third day we finished our 90- mile journey in Long Beach, California, and the saga of grinding down old Highway 99 came to an end.
Gratefully, Mom and I rode a Greyhound Bus back to Medford, Oregon the next week. That was only about a fourteen-hour ride.
(As an aside, did you know Greyhound Buses did not have toilets in the back in those days? As I recall, I made the whole trip without wetting my britches, but it was a close call. In Dunsmuir the depot was closed, but the driver took pity on me and opened the place up.)
In closing, if you find yourself frustrated by a driver going much slower than the speed limit, think of me, and remember, the driver could be related to Charles Augustus Troop.